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LETTERS FROM JEWISH AUSTRALIA No.50


The National Council of Jewish Women in Australia (NCJWA).


by Malvina Malinek

JULY 1997

NCJW was founded in 1923 in Sydney by Dr. Fanny Reading, then it quickly spread around Australia forming branches, called SECTIONS, in most major cities where there was a Jewish community, even in small towns such as Newcastle (NSW), Kalgoorlie (WA)and Ballarat (Vic.). Currently there are Sections of NCJW in Melbourne (Vic.), Sydney(NSW),Canberra (ACT), Brisbane and The Gold Coast (Qld.),Adelaide (S.A.) and Perth (W.A.). This year marks the 70th anniversary for Melb. and Bris.Sections.

NCJW is based on the principle that as a women's organisation it should concentrate on friendship, service, Judaism, Israel, service and philantropy at home and abroad,- both for the Jewish and general communities.

NCJWA is part of a wider network of women's organizations under the umbrella of the International Council of Jewish Women,ICJW, linked by the common program of providing services in their local communities.There are Affiliates of ICJW in some 50 countries representing some 1.5million Jewish women.

The Israeli Affiliate is THE COUNCIL OF WOMEN'S ORGANIZATIONS IN ISRAEL, which is the roof body of all the major women's organizations, and it has a rotating presidency and headquarters every two years among the three largest organizations, namely WIZO, Emunah and Naamat.ICJW is also an NGO with accreditation at the UN,- at ECOSOC; UNESCO, Commisions on the Status of Women, Human Rights; WHO, UNICEF, and other International Agencies, as well as with the WJC, the European Jewish Congress, etc.

Triennial Conventions are held in different parts of the world and headquarters change with the President: currently in the UK.

E-mail: hq@icjw.demon.co.uk
Home page:http://www.icjw.org.uk

NCJWA follows the ICJW program closely, except that it is also a fundraising organization with local and Israeli projects, concentrating primarily on welfare, educational and environmental projects.The National headquarters moved in May 1997 from Sydney to Melbourne. The current President is Dr. Geulah Solomon OAM who was elected at the 25th Triennial Convention held in Perth. National Chairpersons of committees from the various Sections oversee the many portfolios such as: Status of Women; Women in Judaism and Jewish Life; Education; Jewish Education; Environment; Community Services; PR; Antisemitism and Racism.

Some highly skilled persons in all these areas have joined the National Board and exciting programs are in the pipeline. The main method of communicating with the membership is through the quarterly publication, "The Council Bulletin", and with the community through regular features in the Jewish local press.

NCJW is also affiliated with National Council of Women in each State, with UNAA and all the major Jewish Roof Bodies, and is an invited member on the Ministerial 'Round Table'of women's organizations advising the Federal Minister for Women's Affairs.

Every year just before Purim, Council members celebrate Council Shabbat at their local Synagogues and throughout March various activities take place to celebrate "Council Month". Most community services are devoted to the elderly and Council volunteers are often the mainstay of their community particularly in the smaller Sections.

Dr. Solomon, who is also the Co-Chair on ICJW for Women in Judaism and Jewish Life, initiated a world-wide petition to the Rabbinical authorities to address the halachic problems dealing with the Get (Jewish divorce)and the status of Jewish women in Jewish Law.Many more signatures are needed before this November when the next meeting of the ICJW Executive will be held in Israel and it is proposed to present the Petitions to the Chief Rabbinates.

Petition forms are available from all NCJW Section offices or from

NCJWA,
P.O. Box 2220,
Caulfield Junction, Vic. 3161.
Tel. (03) 9523 0537.
E-mail: hegma@werple.net.au

Everyone who is willing to assist in the work of NCJW can become a member or associate-member by contacting NCJW locally or at the above addresses. Members of all ages are eagerly sought and always welcomed. They can join a local social Group,a committee or attend the many activities such as regular lectures, seniors' clubs and 'open house'(in Melbourne), visit the Council libraries and resource centers in Sydney and Melbourne, become a volunteer in a myriad of local institutions or in Councils' opportunity shops.


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